Richard A. Knaak Launches a Kickstarter — What if Blizzard followed on his steps?

New York Times best selling author Richard A. Knaak launched a Kickstarter to develop a novel titled… Legends of the Dragonrealm: The Turning War.

According to Richard, this is a three-volume saga which answers many questions concerning the Legends of the Dragonrealm and the Dragon Masters that never got answered.

That truly sounds powerfully interesting.

chris-metzen-headshotBlizzard Entertainment, Pocket Books/Gallery Books have published in past years several novels based on Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft which tie-in with a Blizzard video game or expansion that’s in development.

That’s a great practice because it allows players to learn what happened in between one game and the next as a bridge to inform and draw the players into an immersive story.

However, a long time passes by between the release of these novels.

Warcraft, for example, is very rich in lore, spanning more than 10,000 years of life-changing events, but most of it is given to the player through an in-game book in a very brief medium.

Who hasn’t read about the Three Hammers War?… where the Bronzebeards, the Wildhammers, and the Dark Irons went into a civil war that culminated in the eruption of the Blackrock Mountains with the accidental summoning of Ragnaros 300 hundred years before the opening of the Dark Portal.

Who hasn’t read the fabled story Khadgar once read in the library of Karazhan — “Aegwynn and the Dragon Hunt“?

How about the story that led the Darkspear to flee from Stranglethorn Vale?

Or the story about the first humans led by Tyr to safety.

Or how the first Highborne arrived to Tirisfal Glades prior to the founding of Quel’thalas.

The TOKYOPOP Warcraft Legends manga filled a great niche to tell some of these stories, but a novel is longer than a manga. Better yet, novels can extend into trilogies. Or even an entire series of more than three.

Why, oh why–hasn’t Blizzard Entertainment not caved in to the pleas of lore fans?

That’s a question that will haunt me yet for several years. I know the answer down in my heart. Chris Metzen’s plate has been full these past years with multiple games currently in development and other games not yet announced. He’s also co-producer of the Warcraft film. Not to mention the countless meetings he must participate in at each team department. Plus leading a normal life at home with his children and wife.

Micky Neilson, Sean Copeland, Matt Burns and others are busy with other projects too, and the logistics to prepare those stories before it comes to reality on paper is mind-blowing.

Still … I dream. As any other Warcraft / StarCraft / Diablo lore fan out there, I dream. I have always dreamt of the community getting involved somehow in the initial development of Blizzard novels or graphic novels. Even if everyone involved needs to sign an NDA.

The community has been influencing in the past on the forums, or via Twitter. Even at BlizzCon. Heroes of the Storm has been forged and shaped through BlizzCon and by BlizzCon feedback. TheRedShirtGuy (Ian) was very influential with his lore ABCs. Got immortalized as the Fact-checker NPC in Iron Forge. I do have an anecdote that only some fans in the Scrolls of Lore forums know about. Back in 2009, a fan by the username Timolas pointed out the unnamed captain (Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos) who spoke with the emissary of King Terenas in the scene where he recalls Arthas’ troops to return immediately to Lordaeron is named Captain Luc Valonforth. At the time, I think World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was in beta testing. Pocket Star Books (Simon & Schuster, Inc. Division) had begun printing the novel titled World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King. I contacted really an awesome editor, Jaime Costas. We had been in contact for a few years. Some of our past giveaways, and interviews on and before 2009 came to happen through her. I infomed her that the captain in the quest titled: The Truth Shall Set Us Free had been given a name in-game: Captain Luc Valonforth. I had read a review copy two weeks before the novel went on sale. As soon as I told Jaime Costas, she edited the scene where the captain talked with the Lordaeron emissary. The novel then was printed with that name. As I was writing this article, I was double-checking some links and found my tale was added (without my knowledge) to the WoWpedia. See how the lore community works? It’s awesome. The original forum thread is here.

Back to the main topic… say some of the most influential lore fans around the community are picked, and invited to a Skype session or chat room with Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Sean Copeland or other members of the Creative Team. Prior to the meeting each is sent by mail an NDA that must be signed, notarized, and sent back. Whatever fancy or legal procedure is needed for such a thing.

Those fans then brainstorm with the creative team. Talk about the different stories, and choose one story. Everyone provides an idea, or ideas on what races or characters existed in that time-frame, what possible stories could exist within that sandbox and timeframe.

mickey-neilson-headshotThen, Micky Neilson (Publishing Lead) posts a Kickstarter to fund the project. Here is where this dream gets interesting. The project is community-driven from concept to execution. We have seen the success of Blizzard novels.

Just an innocent examples: the Diablo III: Book of Cain reached # 1 Amazon’s best selling graphic novel before its release date. World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson & Sean Galloway reached # 3 New York Times best selling graphic novel. The World of Warcraft: Stormrage was # 1 best seller too. How did all these lore books win then? Magic-word: Pre-orders.

Pre-Order and Kickstarter are basically the same thing. People commits to buy a product they are interested in, and enlist themselves. There is a slight difference, though. When you enlist to a pre-order in Amazon or another retailer you will get that item delivered on release date. On Kickstarter or other type of crowdsourcing the item isn’t shipped if the item doesn’t reach the targeted price goal when the kickstarter expires.

However, the lore fans are there. It has been proved once and again in Amazon and the New York Times best selling lists.

It would be nice for Blizzard to have a Kickstarter-like page on the Blizzard Store or even in the World of Warcraft in-game store, but Kickstarter is more abroad in terms that non-Blizzard fans can also jump in and participate.

It’s all a bunch of dreams. However, they say dreams do come true. Hope the right people read this, and I know they do.

–Medievaldragon

Jinx Launches StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Winter 2013 Collection

This winter Jinx has launched a few new StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm products. Baneling lovers will want to get ahold of these new stuff.

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Jinx 2013 Holidays Discounts on World of Warcraft, StarCraft II & Diablo III T-Shirts & Hoodies

Jinx has several awesome Holiday offers for Blizzard fans. These offers run throughout December 3 until December 25th. Benefit from these discounts while supplies last. If you wish to send a Gift Certificate to a friend or family for the holidays then go to this page and inform about the holiday discounts.

  • Free Shipping on orders over $75
  • 10% Off orders over $75
  • 20% off $150+.

World of Warcraft

Diablo

StarCraft II

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Black Friday 2013 Sale – World of Warcraft 75% Off and StarCraft II 50% Off

Blizzard Entertainment announced juicy discounts for World of Warcraft and StarCraft II during this year’s Black Friday. Get World of Warcraft Battlechest (which includes all expansions up to Cataclysm) for $5 and Mists of Pandaria for $10.

StarCraft II and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm are down to $19.99 each.

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Jinx Critical Hit 20% OFF Promo – Ends November 25th

The Jinx Critical Hit promo has three Blizzard Licensed Products’ prices dropped by 20% OFF (No promo code required. It’s already lowered). These savings will be up until November 25th.

Discounts

Check the sizes available in this list of T-shirts available at $9.99 or $14.99.

All Collections

Jinx StarCraft II Spectre Hoodie

Jinx StarCraft II Spectre Hoodie

Jinx Retro Zerg T-shirt

Jinx Retro Zerg T-shirt

Diablo III Tyrael Side Zip-Up Hoodie

Diablo III Tyrael Side Zip-Up Hoodie

Diablo III Barbarian Class Premium T-Shirt

Diablo III Barbarian Class Premium T-Shirt

Sideshow Collectibles Teases StarCraft II Tychus Sixth Scale

Sideshow Collectibles is preparing to unveil the StarCraft II Tychus Sixth Scale Figure in upcoming weeks. For now it shared a preview teaser for those who love to collect high-quality Blizzard Licensed Products.

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sideshow-starcraft-ii-jim-raynor-six-scale-figure-100181_press08-001The StarCraft II Raynor Sixth Scale Figure by Sideshow Collectibles is currently in production and pre-orders are open. The Raynor Sixth Scale is slated to ship on August 2014.

To give you an idea of this Tychus Sixth Scale’s size, the Raynor’s dimensions are 15.5″ H x 9.5″ W x 6.75″ L*.

What’s in the Box?

  • Fully Articulated Figure Body with highly detailed, fully articulated armor
  • C-14 Impaler Gauss Rifle
  • Pistol with fabric holster
  • Sniper Rifle
  • Light up chest light
  • Light up Engine Vents

Blizzplanet will get you the Tychus Sixth Scale preview images as soon as Sideshow Collectibles have them ready for the masses. Stay tuned.

ex-Blizzard Dev Auctions Original StarCraft II Art, Kerrigan Bust and Goodies

An ex-Blizzard Entertainment developer reached me out to tip me about the sale of several StarCraft II goodies acquired as employee-exclusive gifts. I was able to confirm the identity as the name appears in the StarCraft II credits.

Some of these items are rare, and some are commonly found on eBay. Most of these can be acquired directly by texting the ex-developer by phone. The employee-exclusive goodies will be placed on eBay in a few days (I’ll update once the ex-developer provides the links).

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek into some of the items currently available for sale.

Dethling

The Dethling was a BlizzCon 2010 Exclusive item included in the Swag bag given to the event attendees. The ex-developer has two available for $60 each.

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BlizzCon 2010|2011 Pet Cards

These are BlizzCon 2010 and 2011 exclusive pet cards which contain a scratch redeem code which enables a Battle.net account to obtain a Deathy (a murloc with a jaw and features of Deathwing) and Grunty (World of Warcraft space marine companion pet) — there are two cards on sale each for $85; and another two cards with the Murkablo (World of Warcraft companion pet) and the Panda Space Marine (StarCraft II avatar). I’m not certain if these will be on sale or if they will be placed in the upcoming auction instead. Text just in case.

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Circle of Honor Limited Edition Stein

This stein is given exclusively to employees. This one seems to be given to those who have worked at Blizzard for two years. It is sealed in its box (unopened). On sale for $250.

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Diablo III Collector’s Edition

There are two factory-sealed copies on sale for $150. The Collector’s Edition includes the Fetish Shaman (World of Warcraft companion pet), the Tyrael wings (Diablo III character cosmetic wings); and three exclusive StarCraft II avatars (Diablo III-themed). It also contains the Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction inside a USB-flash drive shaped like the soulstone which can be inserted in a Diablo skull souvenir, the Behind-the-Scenes DVD, Soundtrack DVD, and other goodies.

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Kwurky Green Egg Murloc Plush

This is a rare Blizzcon 2009 exclusive plush toy. There is one available for $120.

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StarCraft II Chips

While there are some of these showing up on eBay from time to time, the one the ex-developer is selling is the Employee-Exclusive version, and thus a rare item. This below is the complete Blizzard chip set + the full set of the StarCraft II chips. On sale for $200.

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StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Collector’s Edition

The factory-sealed StarCraft II Collector’s Edition includes the Mini Thor (World of Warcraft companion pet), three StarCraft II exclusive avatars, an exclusive-version of the Thor unit within StarCraft II, a DC Comics StarCraft comics # 0, the Art of StarCraft II book, the Behind-the-Scenes DVD, Soundtrack and other goodies. On sale for $250.

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Additional Goodies

Not all items have images, but these can be purchased directly without eBay listing by contacting the ex-employee directly.

  • How about a sealed Employee staff-exclusive shirt (Size: Large)? Only $50.

  • Employee platform services button up 2012 shirt (sealed) – $120

  • One-year Subscription World of Warcraft cards x3 for only $75 each. Buying these directly on Battle.net would cost about $84.86 (with Tax included). You save about $9.86 (depending what U.S. State you live at. Tax Example provided: New York)

Upcoming eBay Auction

I’ll update fans in the front page and at the Blizzplanet Facebook and Twitter pages when these become available on eBay. If you don’t follow Blizzplanet social network pages do so now. I was told these will be uploaded soon. These are for the hardcore fans out there with the passion to collect extremely rare Blizzard employee-exclusive memorabilia.

The Thor and Vulture original artwork was painted by artist Jack Luke Mancini. The auction will start with $300 for this limited exclusive piece.

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The StarCraft II Kerrigan Queen of Blades original artwork was used as the front cover of the Starcraft: Queen of Blades by Aaron Rosenberg. This 22″ x 42″ original artwork by Glenn Rane will be in auction starting at $12,000.

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This one of a kind original Brian Huang Starcraft II Concept Art Hydralisk will be in auction for $2,200.

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Sideshow Collectibles only made 5100 copies of the Kerrigan Queen of Blades Bust Statue. So far there have been only four of these statues showing up on eBay by ex-employees and sold for about $900. This one is sealed in its box and it will be auctioned for $750.

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Stay tuned to Blizzplanet to find out when these last four items hit eBay. All other items mentioned are available directly with the ex-employee (no-eBay) by texting (310) 801-7802.

The ex-employee is willing to show photos of pay stubs and the employee plaque for verification and authenticity purposes. Prices are also negotiable.

New York Comic Con 2013 – Blizzard Entertainment Book Signing Schedule

Blizzard Entertainment won’t have a Publishing Panel this year, but there’s still a significant presence at the New York Comic Con.

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Thursday, October 10

  • There will be a giveaway of 50 copies of Starcraft II: Flashpoint by Christie Golden and 150 World of Warcraft bookmarks at the Simon & Schuster booth #1828

Saturday, October 12

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Take a look at the Floor Plan I edited to mark the booths.

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